Welcome to HRLR Online!

I’m thrilled to help launch HRLR Online. Since its inception, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review (HRLR) has been instrumental in fostering careful analysis and spirited debate on the changing landscape of human rights. The field of human rights is shifting as I write, and new issues, methodologies, and tactics are developing in real time around the world, including within the United States. With this online platform, HRLR offers a unique venue for innovative and rigorous inquiry, commentary, and discourse on human rights theory and practice.  There has never been a greater need for the diversity of perspectives and thoughtful analysis which HRLR Online will provide.

HRLR Online deepens HRLR’s commitment to publishing cutting-edge scholarship by both established scholars and new voices. I’ve experienced this commitment first hand, through the Human Rights Institute’s productive collaborations with HRLR. In 2008, HRLR dedicated a special anniversary issue to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Human Rights Institute and one of the Institute’s signature initiatives, the project on Human Rights in the United States. HRLR has long been instrumental in deepening Columbia Law School’s legacy, forged by the late Professor Louis Henkin, to promote U.S. accountability for human rights. The 2008 special issue was a unique opportunity to explore in-depth the origins and impacts of human rights advocacy in the United States and weave together theoretical and practical perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of engaging international human rights strategies and law to advance U.S. social justice advocacy efforts. HRLR Online will amplify HRLR’s efforts to nurture and expand this and similarly timely and crosscutting scholarship.

And HRLR Online will reinforce the journal’s dedication to bridging theory and practice. In 2012, the Human Rights Institute collaborated with HRLR on a symposium issue to examine the right to housing and human rights. The special issue had its genesis in urging from housing rights practitioners who saw a need for deeper theoretical analysis of the issues surrounding human rights and homelessness. The publication yielded articles and essays exploring international comparative approaches to right to housing litigation and legislation, providing an intersectional examination of the impact of access to justice on the right to housing, and transcribing a fascinating conversation that explored transferrable lessons from the fight to secure marriage equality in the United States. HRLR Online will foster new opportunities for intersectional analysis, cross-fertilization of ideas, and transnational learning.

Throughout its history, HRLR has played a significant role in shaping human rights scholarship. Building on HRLR’s robust tradition, HRLR Online will provide critical space for scholars and practitioners to identify, cultivate, and analyze human rights responses to issues at the local, regional, and international level, and complement and expand on traditional scholarship. With the launch of this new platform, HRLR builds upon its dynamic past and ensures a vibrant future.


Risa E. Kaufman
Executive Director, Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute
Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School